Haggling like a pro

August 16, 2009 9:52:21 AM PDT
As recently as this summer, consumers found an 80 percent success rate while trying to negotiate for a better deal. Beth Lipton, senior editor at "All You" magazine, joined us with tips. Message Point #1:
It's obvious everyone's trying to save money these days, but one not so obvious way of accomplishing this is haggling. It's not just for flea markets anymore.

Message Point #2:
You may not think so, but haggling on anything from big-ticket items to gym memberships is actually common, and it often works.

Message Point #3:
To get a better deal, you need a healthy dose of confidence. We help you along with a step-by-step guide for learning the ground rules, mastering the art of negotiating and closing the deal.

Here are a few general tips on how to haggle successfully...

Identify your limit. Define your wish price (what you'd consider an amazing deal), your goal (what you're willing to pay), and your price ceiling (you won't pay a penny more). Name your wish price to begin, and don't go past your limit. How do you do this?

Use silence. Listen 70% of the time and talk only 30%. People often feel the need to fill in awkward silences, so if you let them talk, salespeople might blurt out something useful - like, actually there's a sale next week.

Time it right. Enter a store near closing time to entice the seller to make one last sale.

Play it cool. Another useful tip is to be indifferent. Sellers want you to buy the item, so if you seem like you're not sure if you really love it, they may be more inclined to lower the price to convince YOU to take it. So if say you don't really care about the color of the car you're buying, pretend to - and say you'll reluctantly take it in silver, if they lower the price.

Here are tips for "closing the deal":

Give up something small. "Reluctantly" compromise on a factor that isn't as important to you and a salesperson might be more likely to bend as well. Also remember that negotiating may not always mean a lower price on the product you're buying. For example, if they can't come down on the cost, ask them to throw in a few extras - like free shipping. If you are buying the floor model, as for a discount...

Walk away. If you're not getting the price you want, restate the amount you're willing to pay, give the salesperson your number and tell her to call you if she can meet your price. A salesperson might call you back with a deal after some consideration.

Remember the Golden Rule: No matter who you're negotiating with or where, always remember the golden rule: Remain friendly and polite. Saying thank you, being nice and smiling can go a long way.

ALL YOU magazine, geared to the value-driven woman, is published by Time Inc. and sold on newsstands at Walmart stores nationwide and by subscription.